ARENAL VOLCANO, LA FORTUNA DISTRICT, COSTA RICA

Arenal volcano, covered in a shroud of clouds, erupts at night in Northwestern Costa Rica.

Estimated at 7'000 years of age since its first eruption Arenal can be considered a young volcano geologically. Its tall conically shape towers more than 1'500 meters above the surrounding rainforest and the large artificial lake at its foothills built to produce hydroelectric power providing 70% of Costa Rica's electricity. Wrapped in a carpet of clouds and fog Arenal broke out of its dormant phase in 1968 and has been a faithfull tourist attraction, one of the ten most active volcanos worldwide, with its nearly nightly eruptions until October 2010. It now seems to be in a resting phase once more, but this status may change any time again.

Having already spent a couple of days at Arenal I was getting more and more frustrated, while I could hear the volcano erupting the continous fog and clouds made it impossible to see the spectacle. The travel itinerary did not allow for me to stay longer, so I parted reluctantly that last night. I was just about to drive over a hillside at the far end of the lake as I saw a red glow in the rear mirror of my rental Suzuki 4x4. I stopped and got out, grabbing my telephoto and heavy tripod. I felt like the luckiest guy in town, not only did the clouds clear but there was this beautiful saturated colors of the blue hour and lava smoke at Arenal's tip glowing a deep red. A nicely visible stream of lava was flowing down the side of the volcano.

While there are many images of volcanoes which depict much more dramatic eruption fireworks I like the dream-like quality of this image. The three colors blue, black and red make for a wonderful combination. Arguably the volcanos tip is positioned at the center of the image and no apparant rules of third are applied, I tried different crops but cannot bring myself to cut anything out of the original framing.

Discover more inspiring photos like this one.

Download the FREE 500px app Open in app